For Harvey

Who do you consider your best friend?  For me, the choice is real easy.  Harvey was the first friend I ever had and in a lot of ways lived a life on parallel courses.  Harvey was the only boy in the Blinn Family and for a lot of the time, I only had two sisters.  I think in a lot of ways it was us guys against the girls.  Harvey was a year older but due to an unfortunate accident somewhere during elementary school we were in the same grade for the second half of our school years.  Until somewhere about the third grade, Harvey lived just two houses south of our house on Byrd Street.

I am not sure, but I think some of the attraction Harvey had for me was that he just followed me to see what trouble I would get into next.  He was careful, quiet, clean and more precise in the way he did things.  Kind of the opposite of me in a lot of ways.   I would not call him shy, just deliberate in a lot of ways. 

We went to Minneha Elementary and I'm sure he was figured into the group that had an asterisk our name to be separated if possible.  Jesse James, the two Denny's on Byrd street and Harvey were separated as much as possible.   You know, I don't have a clue what kind of grades he made in school.  As for me, I thought "D" was for Denny.  I'm sure that a lot of teachers gave me D's to ensure they didn't get me again the next year.

The year we graduated from High School, Harv and I worked construction together.  That first summer we were both common laborers and shoveled a lot of sand and concrete.  I always tried to get assigned to a job where I helped the carpenters to get that extra 15 cents an hour as a skilled laborer.  I managed to get the nails of the right size and the extension cords to where they were needed.  We mostly worked on jobs where Harvey's dad was not the superintendent.  I really liked to work with a fellow names Blaine Wilson as he could almost outwork any of us young punks and enjoyed to laugh and tell stories as we worked.  He treated me like a son and I did my best to not let him down - ever.

The fall in 1965, Harvey and I both started school at Wichita State.  Back then, ROTC was a mandatory subject and Harvey pledged the Military fraternity the Scabbard and Blade.  I didn't and just was one of the crowd.  I remember that the first semester I made straight C's and also didn't apply for a student deferment.  Second semester, I managed to find a 10 point pitch partner that cheated as much as I did and we played ourselves right out of attending classes.  I withdrew from all but one of my classes except for  religion and I got an F rather than a with drawl for that class.   Later on, that caused me to be readmitted to WSU on probation after I got out of the service. 

In July of 1966, I got my draft notice.  I went up for the "Pre-Induction Physical" on my 19th birthday and when I went for Induction in September, Harvey was going for his Pre-Induction Physical.  That put me about a month ahead of him in the Army.  I did manage to get over to visit him when he was in Reception Station.  He seemed to stay there a lot longer than I did and by the time I got through AIT and into OCS, he was off somewhere  in his AIT.  He too applied for OCS and I was almost middle class by the time he got to Fort Sill, OK.  Fort Sill was one busy place and we never got to visit much.  He was lower class and I think he was just turning middle class as I got to my last week there.  

I think we got away from Fort Sill one weekend for a trip to Wichita Falls.  There was a motel on the north side of town and right next door was a Mexican Restaurant that served the biggest glasses of beer and the best Mexican food.  I think the glasses were about a quart of beer and a couple of those and a big platter would just about end our weekend right there.  I remember that we would generally just go back to the Hotel and crash until the next morning.  There was a pancake house outside of Key gate that we would go to and then back to post.  

When I got orders for Fort Irwin, Harvey said he was going to Germany.  I thought he was crazy but he was right.  I went from Fort Irwin to Vietnam and he went to Germany.   I got out of the Army in the summer of 1969 and Harvey got home just in time to start the fall semester at WSU.  

Oh, I left out a couple of steps.  The summer we were drafted, Harvey joined the Carpenter's Union. and they counted his time in the Army as time in the Union.  By the time he got out of the Service, he was on their books as a Journeyman Carpenter.  He had very little experience but danged if he wasn't able to make a hell of a lot more per hour that I was.  And, during the time I was at Fort Irwin, I met and married Barbara, the love of my life, and still to this day my wife. 

During the next couple of years, Harvey met and married Pat.  They have a son Ed Blinn.  They were not destined to be a long term couple and it was later that Harvey met and Married Wynsue. 

Over the years, we have managed to stay in touch and even though we are separated by 800 miles, we can get together and the conversation just starts where we left off the last time.  I think that is the sign of a friend and I am proud to say that Harvey is my best friend.



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